Julie Decker has been appointed the new head of the Anchorage Museum

Mike Dunham

Julie Decker has been appointed the new director the Anchorage Museum, a position she held on an interim basis after the departure of former director, James Pepper Henry, in August.

Decker, who grew up in Anchorage, is a former gallery owner and herself an artist. She has written several books and exhibit catalogues addressing art in Alaska ranging from "Icebreakers: Alaska's Most Innovative Artists," a compendium of Alaskans working in wild modern art forms, to the companion book to an exhibit about the humble, utilitarian Quonset hut, "Quonset: Metal Living for a Modern Age."

As a curator at the museum, she has overseen several shows aimed at children, exhibits about Andy Warhol and Alaskan sculptor John Hoover, the recent "Arctic Flight: A Century of Alaska Aviation" and "True North: Contemporary Art of the Circumpolar North," which featured the work of international artists. She also curated "This is Not A Silent Movie: Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists" for the Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles.

Decker has been the main proponent of the museum's Northern Initiative, an exploration of northern culture and environment through exhibitions, scholarship and community activities. Prior to Henry's departure she held the position of the museum's chief curator.

In addition to serving as the director of the city-owned museum, she will also be the chief executive officer of the Anchorage Museum Association, the nonprofit group that operates the museum under contract with the municipality.

Reach Mike Dunham at mdunham@adn.com or 257-4332.